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Wyoming Ends Ban on Next Generation Science Standards

Last week, the Wyoming governor signed a bill that will make statewide adoption of the somewhat controversial K-12 science standards possible once again.

A year ago, the legislature passed a budget that included a footnote prohibiting the board of education from considering adopting the Next Generation Science Standards. Conservative opponents of the standards have taken issue with its treatment of global warming as a settled science. Rep. Matt Teeters, a Republican who co-authored the Wyoming footnote, said at the time: "There's all kinds of social implications involved in that that I don't think would be good for Wyoming."

The footnote received pushback from science and math educators, religious groups, and even other lawmakers. Teeters was not re-elected to the legislature (which at least one Wyoming columnist attributed in part to his "misstep in the NGSS debacle"). 

The recent bill repealed the budget footnote. It's unclear when the board will begin reviewing the science standards for possible adoption.

So far, 13 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards, which emphasize application, scientific inquiry, and engineering design and were developed by 26 lead state partners. West Virginia was the most recent adopter—though the global warming language caused a bit of an uproar there as well. 

Some Wyoming districts have already moved forward with curricula aligned to the NGSS, reports the Wyoming Tribune Eagle

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